Dear St. John’s,
Did you know that the tradition of praying the “Prayers of the People” in our Communion service dates back to the year 150?
While the prayers for much of our service are set, our prayer book allows for great flexibility in the prayers of the people. We must include prayers for the Universal Church, its members and its mission; the nations and all in authority; the welfare of the world; the concerns of the local community; those who suffer or are in any trouble; and those who have died. But we are free to use or adapt one of the forms in the prayer book or to create our own prayers.
The beauty of this is that it allows us to tailor the prayers to the concerns of “the people” – in our case, to the congregation of St. John’s. We can pray for individuals we care about who are sick or who have died; give thanks for the birth of a baby or successful surgery or a new job; and raise up current events, from a local house fire to national elections to a war overseas.
I’ve discovered that working with church school classes to write their own prayers of the people is a joy because they enthusiastically add items for every prayer category. They pray for everyone from sick grandparents to ailing goldfish. They remember close relatives and folks like George Washington among the dead. And they give thanks for everything from families and church to dance class to individual pets and stuffed animals by name to Shore homes undamaged by Hurricane Sandy.
Adults generally are much shyer about adding their prayers aloud. But the prayers of the people invite us to do just that – to lift up our prayer concerns, so we all may pray about them together. I encourage you to give it a try! Everyone also is welcome to give prayer concerns or thanksgivings ahead of time for inclusion in the prayers to me or Deacon John.
And if anyone would like to assist in writing prayers of the people for our worship service, please let me know.
Looking forward to praying with you all on Sunday.
Articles are posted by the Communication team, Rev. Sharon and others.